Why France? What is so good about camping in France?
Well there are a number of reasons why we camp in France for our main holiday every year.
- Culture – People
So that’s a little list
Well France is south and so is the equator, and that’s where the hottest areas of the earth are so it stands to reason that the further south we head from Manchester the hotter it will get. Last summer while setting up our tent on the south coast of France the temperature topped 39C. I got sunburned pretty bad in only half an hour with my shirt off. In quite a few towns on the south coast the summer car park is the local river in the winter.
This years campsite fees are €755 for 2 weeks on a 5 star campsite and a similar site in Cornwall for the same 2 weeks is £715 and at a big holiday park company it’s over £1000 and the last time we camped in Cornwall in the summer it was more like early spring. Cold and Wet!
I have never been to any campsite in France that I could complain about. They get busy in Summer but pitches are always well kept, spacious and usually have a small hedge to separate the next pitch. Usually just enough to create the feeling of privacy but not so much as to feel isolated. Campsites usually have a star rating and you can pretty much guarantee 3 or 4 stars is going to have great facilities and 5 stars is just fab!
Star ratings usually equate to facilities. A 3 star site will usually have a pool, probably just a standard rectangular pool. A 4 star site will definately have a pool and more than likely some slides. A 5 star site will have a pool, slides and the pool area will probably be landscaped. But that’s not all. The usual facilities that you expect on any campsite, toilets, showers etc… will be of higher spec, more of them etc…. there will also be things like a shop, restaurant, take away, bar.
To say France has culture & history in spades is an understatement. There is an ancient chateau around every corner, but the best of the French campsites are truly multi cultural as they attract visitors from all around Europe. Last year we were pitched next to Germans, French, Dutch and some Geordies. There must be a reason why people are prepared to travel all that way. The Dutch couple we met last year have been making the same trip every year for 15 years and the Geordies had been coming for 10 years. This campsite was so popular that when we tried to book again for this year ( this was only the day after we got home) the site owner sent us a list of available pitches, out of over 1000 pitches there was already only 62 pitches free for the following year.
Conversing over the hedge in broken English, terrible French and non existent German was fun and interesting to learn a little about our neighbours. And then of course we were in the Catalan region and they have their own language too. My head was mashed! At one point I think I asked for the bill in a restaurant in Italian! My language skills are not good but 6 languages in a fortnight just had me totally confused but loving every minuet.
France is the home of Gastronomy. A trip around a supermarket can be an eye opener but a trip around a larger Hypermarket is a real eye opener. Every region of France has some kind of local delicacy, around the coast there is always a plentiful supply of fresh seafood (just not for me! YUK!) Most French campsites seem to sell Moules et Frites on a particular night, kind of a french take on fish & chips. Moules being Muscles. They also often have a Paella night when enormous pans of Paella are prepared. Think 4 -5 feet across.
Wine, oh yeah they make a bit of wine in France. I like wine! Ok that’s an understatement. Again all the regions of France have their own speciality when it comes to wine. Champagne from Champagne, Bordeaux from Bordeaux Cotes Du Rhone from the Rhone alps. I’m still working my way through the french wine list trying to find one I don’t like. Visiting the Catan region opens up more wine possibilities being so close to Spain means Spanish wines to try, Rioch, Tempranillo etc….
“Oh it’s too far to drive” is something I quite often hear. Well yes it is a long way but it’s worth it, and you don’t have to go all the way to the south coast. France is vast and if you like camping here then I’m sure you will find something to suit you in France.
“I couldn’t drive over there, I’d be too scared” is another statement. Poppycock! Driving in France is much easier than on our overcrowded roads. It’s not all like going around the Arch de Triomph! In fact most roads are virtually empty and driving on the other side is so easy.
Crossing the channel is also easy. Ferries are ro-ro type. ( Roll on Roll off) no turning around or reversing. The tunnel is even easier with loads of manouvering room to drive on and off and the roads put you straight onto the right side as you exit so no getting that wrong.